Contributing Leavitt Group Author: Carlene Jimenez
With a new school year upon us, the thought of your child going off to college is now a reality for many parents. As your children move on to college, it is a good idea to meet with your insurance agent to discuss your specific situation and make sure you and your student have the coverage you need. In the meantime, here are some important things to know before sending your students off to school this fall.
Homeowners vs. Renters Insurance
When your child opts to live in the dorms for the complete college experience, their personal property is still covered under the “off premise” coverage on your standard homeowners insurance policy. The amount of coverage available will vary by policy, so take time to review your policy so you know the limits that are in place.
If you have purchased a computer or any other expensive electronics, you should consider adding them to your homeowners policy as scheduled personal property. This will ensure that you are covered properly. Most insurance companies have “internal limits” and limitations on certain personal property items, so it is best to check with your insurance agent.
If your child opts to live off campus in an apartment or rental home, they will most likely not be covered by your homeowners insurance. In this case, your child can purchase their own renters insurance policy to protect their belongings. This type of coverage is very affordable and simple to secure. An average renters insurance policy costs around $188 per year. If your child has roommates, it is best if each roommate has their own renters insurance policy. This will help ensure each person has the right coverage for their personal belongings, and if one roommate moves out, everyone else will still have their own policies in place.
Students should remain on their parents’ auto policy until they live permanently away from home, are over age 18, and have a vehicle titled in their own name. Until then, it is advisable for children to remain on their parents’ policy. There are discounts available if your college students are more than 100 miles away from home and you are not allowing them to take a vehicle with them. However, it is still a good idea for them to remain on your policy to avoid lapses in coverage and to ensure they are covered if they happen to drive an uninsured vehicle or borrow a friend’s car without consent. As with high school, college students can also qualify for the “good student” discount on automobile insurance. Encourage your students to keep up their grades so you can continue to save money with this discount.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, burglaries constitute approximately 50 percent of all on-campus crimes – so, along with having the right insurance in place, it is important to take steps to prevent theft. Here are a few tips:
Maintain an inventory of dorm items. Have your student make a detailed list of the items they are taking before going away to school and update the list on a regular basis. If a loss occurs, such as theft or fire, having an up-to-date inventory will help with the claims process.
Leave unnecessary, valuable items at home. While your student will likely need a computer or even sports equipment at school, other items such as collections, costly electronics, specialty bikes, and valuable jewelry may be best left at home. As mentioned above, whether at home or school, these high-value items should be covered with an endorsement or special floater on your homeowners policy.
Permanently label (engrave) high-value items with name and other identifying information.